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I’m on the fence, and Simmons… that’s a squirrel. Part I

I’m currently eligable for an upgrade on AT&T and have no clue what I’m going to be getting (but if anyone says iPhone you are immediately disqualified from conversation.)  I tend to do a lot of research in deciding my phone of choice and realized that not everyone does or even knows how.  Over the next few months I plan on posting up all my research for two reasons.  One, because I’ll learn quite a bit about some newer handsets coming to AT&T’s market and two, because I want to know what you guys think.  Fact is that without people to read this stuff then I wouldn’t be here, which kind of means I work for you.  We’ve got a good Windows Mobile base of writers here with a few oddballs.  Simmons is on the Android train drinking all the Google kool-aid he can get his hands on, and Ramon is rocking the Blackberry.  If you readers feel like some area of mobile news is not getting addressed properly by our articles then now is the time to say so.  Whatever phone I get will obviously effect the apps, UI’s, articles, etc, that get posted here.  Now I’m not leaving this completely up to the masses but I intend to do a good bit of listening as well.  Read more for the ground rules.

Number 1:  I am on AT&T and intend to stay this way because I get a sweet discount working at Best Buy. 

Number 2:  I will not get an Apple product no matter how many suggestions are sent that I do so.  Deal with it.

Number 3:  I will post as much info as I can gather on any handset I am seriously considering and will do a hands on with the hardware as well before the actual purchase.

Number 4:  I will not buy a phone until at least late August or early September. 

Number 5:  I am pretty much game for any Smarthphone you guys think would be a good part of our regular coverage.

and finally Number 6:  It’s my phone and I’ve got to live with it for two years so I reserve full veto rights in the end, but much the same way Simmons wanted someone to convince him to get the Nexus, I’m interested in knowing what all you other tech minded people think looks like the best idea. 

I’m going to go ahead and let you all know what I want out of my phone for this first entry and a few things that are already on my list of possibilities.  If it seems like I’ve overlooked something at any time, please call foul, so that I can explain or address it.  I use my phone for communicating first off all.  It’s got to have a polished core experience for the basics like calling, texting, and emailing.  I don’t really care so much for social networking because I only have it to get pictures for my contacts and not to communicate.  I intend to use the phone for a good amount of media playback so the ability to play and/or edit media makes a big difference.  This includes documents as well cause I’m in college.  Writing a five page history paper on a phone may suck, but it’s nice to be able to carry around a copy of your work and jot ideas directly into the document itself and not some half-assed note taking software you have to reconcile with the original file later.  It must have the standard sensors for modern high end smartphones which includes g-sensor, gps, and proximity/light sensors.  It must also have a decent camera (I don’t care about how many megapixels it has because that number is garbage most of the time.  I’m talking about real world camera quality and if you don’t know what I mean then ask Doug Simmons to send you his email tutorial.)  Video recording is a must but I’m not going to set any kind of quality requirements here.  I’ve probably taken a total of like 3 minutes of mobile video my entire life and it ended up being something I really wish I didn’t record.  I would like it to have an LED light but it’s not a dealbreaker.  I don’t think I need to tell you that it has to be a capacative touch screen but it does need a REAL screen resolution of at least WVGA to get my rocks off in style.  I don’t have any OS requirments to throw at you guys because I want it to be fairly open, but this will be a flagship device for whatever OS you’re going to be recommending.  Games are a good addition but not required, as I hardly ever play them.  Apps don’t really do it for me.  If you’re going to reccomend something based only on the number of apps available then save your time because you will have wasted your life on that argument.  I want to do a specific set of things with my phone and if it can do that out of the box without apps then I’m game.  I am also not beneath tinkering with the thing which is how I ended up here in the first place.  I want to know what you guys think is the best way to accomplish all of this with the most style and elegance regardless of the amount of work it takes to get there. 

To set you guys off on the reccomendations I’ll let you know what I’m considering.  The phone currently making my toes curl in anticipation is Emblaze’s First Else.  This is, in my opinion, something that seems to do all these things above with a good level of polish and some very unique philosophies on how a smartphone should operate.  This also demonstrates my willingness to leave the herd of traditional smartphone manufacturers.  I’m also considering WinPho 7 as a possibility but have yet to see any hardware that tickles my proverbial pickle (Don’t mention the LG because no matter how hard they try every phone LG releases ends up looking like a crappy feature phone piece of shit.)  I’m also considering a high end Android model similar to the Evo or the Incredible.

So let me know what you guys think should be the next phone added to our staff of writers because this WILL affect what we post and write about.  Also, I’m pretty lost on this decision for the moment and need some friendly direction.  What should I get and why?